The Seventh-day Adventist
church in Panama has signed an agreement with the University of Panama in
Panama City to develop initiatives to counter growing violence in the Central American
Under the agreement,
the church and the state university will conduct joint research about young
people, carry out early detection and prevention of domestic violence, and
promote family unity with special programs and activities.
“We have come here to
join forces … so that we can live safely with strong and stable families who
believe in God and promote the ethical and moral principles of the law of God,”
said Jose De Gracia, president of the church in East Panama and legal
representative of the church nationwide, during a short mid-May ceremony at the
More than 33,400
violent crimes, including murder, rape, and robbery, were committed in Panama
in 2012, according to the latest figures available, and the crime rate has only
grown in subsequent years, authorities said.
“This is a historic
day because it is the first time that the church will work closely with the
most prestigious university in Panama,” De Gracia told the University of Panama
The university, which
opened with 175 students in 1935, has 54,060 today.
praised the efforts of the church to put young people on track for a better
future, before its president, Dr. Gustavo Garcia De Paredes, signed the agreement.
Afterword, the Adventist leader presented the university president with a Bible,
saying it was a reminder of the basis on which the agreement was drawn.
Adventist Church has more than 303,000 members worshiping in 1,196 churches and
congregations in Panama. The church also operates a college and 27 primary and